Baby 3: Liam at 2 years and 10 months

Here’s an update of Liam’s development, as he hurtles towards being 3 years old!

Liam - 2 years 10 Months

Behaviour and Environment

During the school terms, his older brothers go to school, and Liam gets to hang out with me all day. We have our little routines. We have our weekly grocery runs, coffee dates, play dates, gym classes, story time sessions, outings and activities. We have snacks, lunches at home or while we’re out. It’s just him and me.

He’s really pleasant, easy, fun to be with, ok sometimes he’s demanding, but I know his quirks and I know how to work around him… so basically we have a happy little groove between us.

But during the recent 7 week summer holidays, he has had to play and compete with his older brothers – all day, every day.

As a result, my summary of him seems a little harsh, yet it’s all part of his life experience, and what makes him who he is.

Liam has been naughty, difficult, noisy and his behaviour has been awful. It’s such a hard thing to deal with, because I can see what’s driving him. I can see he just wants some attention.

He’s frustrated because his two big brothers will spend hours building intricate lego structures or playing an elaborate board game, and he wants to play too. Instead… he smashes everything onto the floor and steals the important pieces of the game, just so that they will play with him.

Or they will be lazing in bed reading a book or working on a puzzle, and he will come along and rip posters of their walls and tip their shelves over, just so that they will play with him.

It always ends in meltdowns, tears and fights. From everyone! Including me!

So in a way, he’s not really being naughty. He’s just trying to communicate his needs… and well, it’s been a tough couple of months trying to keep everything balanced.

Because, he’s not the only child who needs some attention. There are two others. Not to mention there are two adults in the family who needs some loving. So yes. Balance is the key.

We take things as a week-by-week balancing act. One day I might spend a couple of hours with my oldest boy. While my husband will hang out with the younger two. And the next day my husband will take the middle boy, and I’ll have the other two. And then during the next session I’ll have the youngest one and so on.

This keeps everything quite peaceful.

And it’s worked so well because my husband was on leave for a little bit over the Christmas and new year period.

When it’s just me looking after the kids, most days, they will all play happily for a couple of hours. But after that, they get bored and will need some direction. I either have to do an activity that makes all 3 kids happy. Or I have to send one kid into another room to work on something (nothing too special or the other 2 will get jealous) while I do something with the other 2 kids.

Or I just take them to the beach. And everyone is happy. Including me.

Liam - 2 years 10 Months

“Education”

Liam can identify lots of letters, numbers from 0-12, colours, shapes and symbols. Drawing and writing is an activity he just loves. And I believe he finds a lot of comfort in it. I take a little scribble pad and pencils wherever we go, and he enjoys looking at my past drawings and reading out the letters and numbers.

He has shown keen interest to write letters, so I have been teaching him to write his name. And while I’m at it, I’m trying to teach him to read simple words – not because I’m trying to get him ahead academically – because he just really enjoys it!

Speech

He speech is pretty impressive! He is a real chatterbox and he can talk and talk and talk, if you let him. It can be a bit exhausting, to have someone be in your face and talk at you all day. But I’m not complaining, I try to see it as his little gift.

I get him to re-tell stories of our day, just to help him gather and organise his thoughts, because they can get a bit jumbled and random most times! Kinda cute, but it’s hard to listen to hours of random, mangled sentences.

Gross Motor Skills

Liam is pretty active and coordinated. He can go for long walks, ride a 2 wheel scooter, sit on a big-kid swing, climb up a climbing frame. He can’t ride a bike yet (hasn’t worked out the peddling action).

I’d say that he’s not very daring or adventurous, in a physical sense.

He’s confident to splash around in shallow water, but he’s not brave enough to put his head underwater.

Fine Motor Skills

Really excellent here. The kid plays with big-kid lego, he can use a scissors, do a 48 piece puzzle, peel stickers, glue things, and other fine detail activities.

Sleep

He sleeps at 7:30pm, wakes up 6:00am. As long as he has one 1 hour nap in the day time, he’s fine. And he’s not fussy about when he has the nap.

Imagination Play

Every day Liam can spend 30 minutes to 1 hour playing by himself, with cars, drawing, water play, lego, blocks, or puzzles.

I’d say the biggest activity he is missing out on, is imagination play. I went to a friend’s house recently, who had a cubby house for her daughter. The little house was decorated like a real house, with a kitchen set, photo frames on the wall, tables and chairs… Liam was transfixed. He played inside for aaaaages and didn’t want to leave.

I can see how he would get a lot out of more age appropriate toys!

Social Skills and Friends

He doesn’t have many proper friends at the moment, as he’s a bit young. He prefers to hang around older children, because that’s what he’s used to at home. And he loves the company of adults.

When he is around other kids his age, he is very confident and he stands his own ground. He can be a bit bossy and loud when trying to get his point across, which scares the other kids who are a bit timid.

Separation

Since Christmas, Liam has been very clingy towards me whenever someone comes to babysit. He cries, wails, flings himself on the floor, and shouts things like “Mummy don’t go away!!!!”. He’s been cool with it for years and it just came up suddenly and we’re not sure why he’s changed in this way. We’re thinking maybe it’s just an age thing?

Liam - 2 years 10 Months

Eating

Ah. He has been a terrible eater lately! He loves cereal with milk. Apples. Any kind of sweet or salty biscuit. Noodles. Bacon. And he loves to snack on raw carrots. That’s about it.

He utterly hates pasta, curry, rice, stir-fries, casserole, potatoes, bread – sometimes he will reluctantly eat it, if I feed him.

Most days, when we sit down for a proper lunch or dinner meal… he utterly refuses to eat anything I give him. He refuses to feed himself. And he would rather put himself to bed than to eat what I give him.

But if I spoon food into his mouth, he WILL eat it, reluctantly and slowly. And just like that, he trained me to feed him.

Each mouthful is painful, full of fights, toilet breaks, whining, falling off the chair, crying. Some days I have no idea how much he has eaten, I felt so bad, yet he happily goes to sleep at the end of the day. And I tell myself, if he’s hungry, he’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I’ll make him some warm milk and toast. But he never wakes up.

Heh it is kind of my fault too. As I go through the day, out and about, driving from one event to another, I just throw random food at him for morning or afternoon snacks, a small bag of pop corn, an apple, half a bun with melted cheese on it, a jelly snake, rice crackers, a small carrot. And by dinner time he’s not hungry and I wonder why!

So, basically, I haven’t been very disciplined with his eating!

School

Liam will go to a Pre-Kindergarten for 3 year olds in a few months (he has to turn 3 first!). This particular centre came highly recommended, and it is also a 10 minute walk from our house. He was put on a waiting list, and after months of waiting, we finally got a call and was told that Liam had a place. I was sooooo happy. I know he’ll love it!

(He has been asking when he can go to school for several months now. And he desperately wants his own lunch box.)

But of course, I am struck by that familiar bittersweet feeling – I am totally freaked out that my littlest baby is going to a school AND I am dizzily excited that as he grows older, my life (and my relationship with all my children) will grow and evolve.

I never have to buy another nappy for the REST OF MY LIFE!!

My toddler is 2 years and 8 months and he is finally toilet trained for day and night!!

I announced it on Facebook last week and I had a few people ask for the exact details of how it happened, and the whole process, so I thought I’d write it all out here.

We started many months ago, when the weather was warm. For an hour or so each day, we let him run around outside with no nappy on. He did wees everywhere! We would always point it out to him whenever he would do it, and we’d make a big positive fuss about it.

“Hey look what you did! You did a wee! Wow that’s what your wee looks like!”

Soon he was aware of what he was doing. And he started to tell us “I DID A WEE!” – but he’d tell us after the event occurred.

We’d always encourage him to wee in the potty, or sit on the potty to do the wee. It was all relaxed, fun and exciting.

But it went on for months. And many times it seemed totally pointless. He made such a mess everywhere! There were a lot of poo accidents too. Outside and inside the house. Argh.

I started to get grumpy every time he made a mess on the floor. Our “fuss” lost its positive chirp and took on an irritable edge. So soon he stopped telling me about his wees, and I would just “find” puddles on the floor.

And when I’m walking along, and slip over a puddle of wee, I yell something to the effect of “LIIIIIAM YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING YOUR WEES IN THE POTTY NOT ON THE BLOODY FLOOR!!!!!!!!“

Which of course, didn’t really add any encouragement to the whole situation.

During that time, it was near the end of the year, I was a very busy with work, Christmas concerts, gift shopping, catching up with friends and general holiday preparations… we were out and about every single day, and I hardly had any time to give him his “wee practice” at home. He was in nappies a lot and his progress totally went backwards.

And of course, it was a cycle, the more mess he made, the more I’d just leave his nappy on, and the worse he’s get at controlling his wees and the more mess he’d make, which made me more stressed, and him more stressed…

Anyway, once the school holidays arrived, I was much more relaxed with our daily routines, the weather was warm, the kids played outside for HOURS… and we had lots and lots of “wee practice time” for Liam.

We offered Liam a little chocolate button every time he got a wee into the potty.

And with all the practice, very quickly he was great at sitting on the potty and doing a wee. We had a potty in the house and out of the house too. The kid got so much chocolate!

He still needed a nappy when we went away from the house and at night too.

A few weeks later, we went on holiday to visit my husband’s parents. It was a bit of a gamble, but we decided to take the potty and continue the potty training.

The car trip was going to be 8 hours, which meant he was going to be in a nappy all day, and we thought this factor would bring him backwards.

But for some reason, possibly the change in environment, a different looking toilet, the hint of Christmas around the corner, Liam decided he was now going to do all his wees and poos in the toilet.

And he has been 100% ever since! Day and night.

He does need help to climb onto the toilet. Which yes, is a little irritating when I have to attend to him 6-8 times a day, but the up side is fantastic!

He also wakes up 1 or 2 times a night, so I have to help him onto the toilet. Or sometimes he doesn’t need to go at all during the night.

So there you go.

In the end, I believe toilet training is a combination between the parent’s perseverance, positive training, and the child’s individual nature.

My other 2 children took slightly longer to get the hang of it.

They were both day-time toilet trained by the time they were 3 years old. One was night-time toilet trained by 4 years. But the other was such a deep sleeper, that it took till he was almost 5 years old.

A Thing for Pink Things

Liam's Pink Collection

My 2.5 year old toddler loves the colour pink.

Yes, he’s a boy and he is obsessed with PINK PINK PINK!

The other day I found a little box under my son’s bed – full of pink things that he had collected.

It was so adorable.

Not to mention, it was an impressive collection, considering we are a family of three boys (we have nothing pink around here!).

My heart melted.

What is the sound of a tantrum, when there is no one to listen?

Liam at his gym class

This is my 2.5yo, Liam throwing a tantrum.

This is also Liam looking up at me to make sure that I was WATCHING HIM THROW A TANTRUM.

The truth is, I am so indifferent to tantrums in public, so much so, I think he looks quite cute. I suppose I can say that without any fuss at all, because 1) he’s my third and last baby, and 2) I’m completely OVER the whole tantrum thing. What-ever kid.

We were at our weekly gymnastics class, during the free play session…

Liam stepped off a pink car (as it was the end of his turn anyway) and a little girl took the pink car from him.

Liam decided he wanted the pink car back, so he pushed the girl away, and at the same time, the girl’s dad found a BLUE car and gave it to Liam.

But Liam refused to have the blue car, because he likes pink. The dad was like WTF, and I tried to explain that Liam prefers PINK things…

But at the same time I decided that Liam wasn’t having any car because he shoved the little girl…

And so here he is throwing himself on the ground, rolling and shouting,

“I WANT THE PINK CAAAAAAAR!!!”

The whole car exchange happened in 5 seconds…

And the tantrum lasted 15 minutes.

(Which isn’t that bad actually.)

(And I still love him to bits.)

Liam at 19 months

Liam at 19 Months

OK. Liam is so cute that it makes my ovaries ovulate.

He is definitely my last baby, and I’m glad about that. But it also makes him EXTRA SPECIAL in a way that, perhaps, only a mother can know.

He’s only 19 months, and I’m already weepingly nostalgic for the smell of new baby skin. Skin with all those tiny, amazing wrinkles that give them room to grow into, and that superhero strong grip their little fingers have.

Thankfully, I don’t have any big news about Liam. He is perfectly happy and healthy, and doing all the things he should be doing when kids are one and a half years old. But, like all kids, he is doing them his own, unique way.

He is developing his language skills at a terrific rate, and has even started joining two words together, like “Daddy-Gone” of “Bye-Mama”.

He has realised that although he is small, he can have a BIG impact on the world around him. He will shout “DOWN! DOWN! DOWN! DOWN!” louder and louder until an adult realises that what he means is that he wants to be lifted UP.

(I said his language skills were developing, not perfect!)

And his coordination skills are excellent. He can now pick up a stick, and use it to WHACK his brother sharply over the head with it.

Because Liam is still so small, he is THE BABY, and the older brothers can do nothing about it but wail in protest. One day soon, Liam will discover that older brothers can shove back. But right now, he is getting away with it.

Liam is also obsessed with repetition, which I remember is also a stage my other boys went through. However, neither of the other boys were obsessed with wanting to clean up.

Liam walks around till he finds a bottle top, straw or any other bit of rubbish, picks it up, and then carries it towards the rubbish bin, shouting “Bin! Bin! BIIIIIIIIIN!” Then he shouts “DOWN! DOWN! DOOOOWN!” until someone lifts him UP so he can throw the bit of rubbish in the bin.

And then he shouts “More! MORE! MOOOORE!” as he marches off to find another bit of rubbish. He’s on a mission, and nothing can stop him.

Liam at 19 Months

And it looks like my husband’s Viking genes have won out – the coppery red hair is here to stay, at least for a while, and maybe till Liam goes grey.

I hope he doesn’t have the fiery temperament that tradition claims goes with the hair, but if he does, I’ll try and teach him to manage it, while he is still under my motherly influence – which will hopefully be forever.

*Deep, long, contented sigh of a mother totally in love.*